Appearance Alert!
MRC President Brent Bozell on FNC's Cavuto at 4:50 pm ET

Couric 'Uncomfortable' with Post-9/11 Patriotic Fervor --9/28/2007


1. Couric 'Uncomfortable' with Post-9/11 Patriotic Fervor
The wearing of flag lapel pins and saying "we" when referring to the United States in the days after 9/11 made Katie Couric "uncomfortable," she revealed at a Tuesday forum in which she also fretted that "corporate America owning a lot of media outlets" dissuaded questioning of "this inevitable march toward war." She claimed that "anyone who questioned the administration was considered unpatriotic." On Iraq, she declared: "People in this country were misled in terms of the rationale for war." Couric's politically-charged comments came during a "Kalb Report" interview conducted at the National Press Club that aired Wednesday night on C-SPAN2.

2. Stephanopoulos Touts Talking Points Sent Him by Clinton Camp
On Thursday's Good Morning America, ABC host George Stephanopoulos provided another example of the close relationship that the This Week host has with Bill and Hillary Clinton. After playing a debate clip of the New York Senator publicly disagreeing with her husband over a question about torture, Stephanopoulos revealed to co-host Robin Roberts: "My e-mail started going off the minute after that exchange happened. All the Clinton people." Stephanopoulos, a former top aide to Bill Clinton, explained that Mrs. Clinton's operatives "were thrilled" with the retort and "they like any moment where she can show that, actually, she's the one in charge. He's not pulling the strings." In other words, the Clinton camp e-mailed the ABC anchor, told him the debate moment they most appreciated and Stephanopoulos dutifully highlighted it the next day on Good Morning America.

3. CNN's Anderson Cooper Joins Clinton Summit 'Featured Attendees'
CNN's Anderson Cooper interviewed Bill Clinton for a segment on Wednesday's Anderson Cooper 360 in which Clinton railed against past GOP criticisms of Democratic candidates, and if there was speculation on why Cooper, instead of someone "higher up the food chain" like Wolf Blitzer, interviewed Clinton on the occasion of the "Clinton Global Initiative" annual meeting, it could be because Cooper was one of the "featured attendees" at this meeting. Cooper moderated a "working session" panel discussion on Wednesday on "The Most Effective Strategies for the Most Vulnerable Children." Cooper joined other members of the mainstream media who were "featured attendees" at this year's "Clinton Global Initiative" annual meeting, including Daljit Dhaliwal of PBS; Nicholas Kristof and George Suroweicki of the New York Times; Fareed Zakaria of Newsweek, and former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos of ABC News. Major media executives attending the meeting included Judy McGrath, Chairman and CEO of MTV Networks; Rupert Murdoch; and Ted Turner.

4. Turner: Chance Humanity Will Survive Impaired by Bush's 'Bombing'
Ted Turner made a rare appearance on CNN on Wednesday's American Morning and, live from the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City, the CNN founder used a baseball analogy to claim humanity is in dire straights made worse by President Bush's foreign policy: "It's the seventh inning and humanity is down by two runs. Now, we've got to score three runs in the next, in the next two innings, and we've got to hold them right where they are. So, it's real tricky. We're in a dangerous spot, but we can pull it out if we really work together and go to work on it, and do the smart things and stop doing the dumb things, like bombing Third World countries."

5. O'Reilly Thanks Bozell and MRC Staff: 'They're Doing a Great Job'
At the end of Thursday's The O'Reilly Factor, FNC's Bill O'Reilly gave a shout out to the Media Research Center, publisher of NewsBusters, for tracking the media's distorted coverage of the remarks made by O'Reilly last week on his radio show which the far-left has tried, with the complicity of several media outlets, to turn into an "Imus moment" to silence O'Reilly: "And finally tonight, the mail. Before we get to the letters, I want to thank Brent Bozell and his staff at M, as in Mary, RC.org. They're doing a great job covering this racial deal. Thank you guys."


Couric 'Uncomfortable' with Post-9/11
Patriotic Fervor

The wearing of flag lapel pins and saying "we" when referring to the United States in the days after 9/11 made Katie Couric "uncomfortable," she revealed at a Tuesday forum in which she also fretted that "corporate America owning a lot of media outlets" dissuaded questioning of "this inevitable march toward war." She claimed that "anyone who questioned the administration was considered unpatriotic." On Iraq, she declared: "People in this country were misled in terms of the rationale for war." Couric's politically-charged comments came during a "Kalb Report" interview conducted at the National Press Club that aired Wednesday night on C-SPAN2.

The Kalb of the "Kalb Report" is Marvin Kalb, a former CBS News and NBC News correspondent now working at Harvard University. His "Kalb Report" is produced in conjunction with George Washington University. GWU's page for it: www.kalb.gwu.edu

Some of these quotes may be familiar to CyberAlert e-mail subscribers since a September 26 MRC Appearance Alert included an excerpt from a Washington Examiner article about Couric's comments. For "Couric weighs in on Iraq, Rather," by Jeff Dufour and Patrick Gavin, go to: www.examiner.com

For video of MRC President Brent Bozell's appearance on Wednesday's Hannity & Colmes about Couric's comments: newsbusters.org

For video of MRC Director of News Analysis Tim Graham's appearance on FNC's Your World with Neil Cavuto on Wednesday: newsbusters.org

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth now, however, has reviewed the video aired by C-SPAN2 and provided a lengthier transcript, including some phrases left out of the key quotes in the September 26 Washington Examiner story, of Couric's September 25 observations:

KATIE COURIC: Right now, there's so much emphasis, as I said, on whether or not it was a wise decision in the first place. I think certainly people who covered that fell down on the job in terms of getting the right information and kind of rolled over in terms of U.S. policy and really didn't do their due diligence on that, in that period of time....
I've talked about this a lot with people in the business and thought about it a lot because I remember at the time the buildup was happening, I felt really uncomfortable with the whole atmosphere of the country. I think, you know, sometimes we forget that people in the press are, you know, the press is made up of human beings who experience the same raw emotions, believe it or not, not automatons, and, looking back on it, of course everyone, everyone in the United States was reeling from September 11th. And I think there was a lot of fear in our culture. I think, on some level, we were looking for some kind of patriarchal hero to help us and protect us. And I think we failed to ask really important questions.
And, you know, the whole culture of wearing flags on your lapel and saying "we" when you were referring to the United States, which, and, and, you know, even the "shock and awe" in the initial stages, it was just too jubilant and just a little uncomfortable. And I remember feeling when I was anchoring the Today show this inevitable march toward war and kind of feeling like "Will anybody put the brakes on this?" and "Has this been properly challenged by the right people?" And I think at the time, anyone who questioned the administration was considered unpatriotic, and it was a very difficult position to be in, and corporate America owning a lot of media outlets, there's a lot of pressure, and I remember getting an email from one of my bosses when I had asked a challenging question of Condoleezza Rice. And he sent, forwarded an angry email from a woman in Atlanta who was an office manager at a law firm saying I was unnecessarily confrontational and antagonistic. And, quite frankly, I thought I was firm but polite. And he forwarded the email to me with no explanation, which I thought was a fairly insidious way of saying "Back off" to me in terms of questioning the administration....

MARVIN KALB: Lately I've been hearing that the military is again beginning to finger the media as the culprit in this war. And I'm presenting as evidence, but just one very small bit of evidence, the statement by Major General Rick Lynch, who's one of our top people in Iraq, and he said this war is "winnable," his word, if only the media cooperates properly. What's in his mind?
COURIC: Well, I think that is the oldest trick in the book, of course, to blame the media. I mean, that's, you know, Marvin, that's been happening forever, and I think that that's a sign of probably his desperation-
KALB: His only?
COURIC: Well, probably maybe the other members of the military, as well, feeling desperate. You know, I think that, you know, it's hard to say, I think it's very difficult to get a complete picture of the situation in Iraq. For security reasons, many reporters don't even leave the Green Zone, and it's not as if you can walk around knocking on doors. We did speak to an Iraqi family while I was there in central Baghdad about sort of what their quality of life was like on a daily basis....So, you know, it is very, very difficult to get the full picture, and you talk to as many experts as you can and get as many opinions as you can. But I know in preparation for this trip I talked to many people from different think tanks, and, you know, there's a different point-of-view from almost everyone with whom you speak....

COURIC: I think it's accepted far and wide that this war was probably, that this might not have been on the President's, top of his agenda, and that people have questioned, you know, what was really behind this. And I think there, it's been very well documented-
KALB: I'm not sure I understood that very last sentence. What did you mean by that?
COURIC: Well, that the war might have been a mistake, you know? I think that's pretty much accepted.
KALB: Do you have a personal opinion about that?
COURIC: I don't, I've never quite understood why it was so high on the administration's agenda when terrorism was going on in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and that it had no true connection with al-Qaeda. Now, there was talk of that early on, and still many people in this country believe there is a connection between Iraq and al-Qaeda, and I think obviously, I think everyone in this room would agree that people in this country were misled in terms of the rationale for war. I think that's clear.
KALB: Did you just said that there is a connection-
COURIC: There is not-
KALB: There is not?
COURIC: -a connection between Iraq and September 11th. Ironically, there is now -- between Iraq and al-Qaeda, which is interesting, I guess. But, and I think that the mistakes that were made, disbanding the Iraqi military and leaving 100,000 Sunni men feeling marginalized and angry was questionable [audio gap] there were enough boots on the ground, the feeling that we would be welcomed as liberators and didn't need to focus as much on maintaining security. I mean, I think those things are accepted truths. And I feel totally comfortable saying any of that at some point, you know, if required, on television, but I think everybody is sort of operating from that context.

The September 4 CyberAlert has a list of Couric's worst bias from the past year, including on Iraq: www.mrc.org

Stephanopoulos Touts Talking Points Sent
Him by Clinton Camp

On Thursday's Good Morning America, ABC host George Stephanopoulos provided another example of the close relationship that the This Week host has with Bill and Hillary Clinton. After playing a debate clip of the New York Senator publicly disagreeing with her husband over a question about torture, Stephanopoulos revealed to co-host Robin Roberts: "My e-mail started going off the minute after that exchange happened. All the Clinton people."

Stephanopoulos, a former top aide to Bill Clinton, explained that Mrs. Clinton's operatives "were thrilled" with the retort and "they like any moment where she can show that, actually, she's the one in charge. He's not pulling the strings." In other words, the Clinton camp e-mailed the ABC anchor, told him the debate moment they most appreciated and Stephanopoulos dutifully highlighted it the next day on Good Morning America. This isn't the first time the veteran journalist has touted his continuing ties to the Clintons. In March of 2005, he boasted to then-MSNBC host Don Imus that he talked with liberal political operative James Carville "every day." See: www.mrc.org

[This item, by Scott Whitlock, was posted Thursday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

During his GMA appearance on Thursday, Stephanopoulos also described the previous night's Democratic debate in New Hampshire carried on MSNBC as "pile-on Hillary night." Despite all of the criticism from her fellow Democrats, he charitably observed that Mrs. Clinton "kept smiling, stayed above the fray." Stephanopoulos's assessment: "I don't think they drew any blood last night."

A transcript of the segment, which aired at 7:09am on September 27:

Robin Roberts: "Now, the Democratic debate in New Hampshire. The gloves really came off last night and front-runner Hillary Clinton took most of the hits. So, how did she do? Did she hold her own or did the other candidates make some much needed progress in their regard? ABC chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos joins us now with that bottom line. Good to see you, George."
George Stephanopoulos: "Hey, Robin."
Roberts: "Boy, as we said, the gloves came off."
Stephanopoulos: "Did they. It was pile on Hillary night. You know, she went into this debate last night 20 points up in New Hampshire. So every single candidate on that stage felt they had to take a shot at her on Iraq, on health care, on experience. Take a look."
Former Senator John Edwards: "I heard Senator Clinton say, on Sunday, that she wants to continue combat missions in Iraq. To me, that's a continuation of the war. I do not think we should continue combat missions in Iraq."
Senator Barack Obama (D-ILL): "If it was lonely for Hillary, part of the reason it was lonely, Hillary, is because you closed the door to a lot of potential allies in that process."
Senator Joe Biden (D-DE): "Because there's a lot of very good things that come with all the great things that President Clinton did. But there's also a lot of the old stuff that comes back."
George Stephanopoulos: "You know, she kept smiling, stayed above the fray. I don't think they drew any blood last night. But they are pushing her much harder than ever before."
Roberts: "Well, because time is of essence now and they really have to take after her like that. But, again, once again, her husband, President Clinton is mentioned again and again."
Stephanopoulos: "He's on the stage. Let's just face it. He's on the stage in these debates. And last night, Senator Clinton was asked a question about torture. And she gave a different answer than her husband gave and moderator Tim Russert pointed it out."
Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY): "Well, he's not standing here right now."
Tim Russert: "So there is a disagreement?"
Clinton: "Well, I'll talk to him later."
Roberts: "Wow."
Stephanopoulos: "My e-mail started going off the minute after that exchange happened. All the Clinton people. Now, maybe this was getting into spin mode, but they were thrilled with that. Because they like any moment where she can show that, actually, she's the one in charge. He's not pulling the strings."
Roberts: "All right. So that's the Democrats. Let's take a look at the Republicans right now, because John McCain is getting a real boost in the polls right now."
Stephanopoulos: "You know, two months ago, he was given up for dead. He is back in New Hampshire. There's a new poll out in New Hampshire this morning shows all the candidates bunched up. Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani in front; John McCain just a few points behind. But he's going on a new offensive in New Hampshire this morning. He's got a new ad that we're going to preview here right now."
John McCain advertisement [announcer]: "The courage to change Washington, fix our toughest problems and restore our trust. The character to put America's interests before his own. New Hampshire, you know who he is."
Senator John McCain (R-AZ): "Live free or die."
Stephanopoulos: "He won New Hampshire four years ago. Of course, that footage of John McCain as a POW. He's also going to take aim at Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani today, saying that tough talk, Rudy Giuliani, managerial experience, Mitt Romney, are not the qualifications to be President."
Roberts: "What do you think the boost recently for him?"
Stephanopoulos: "He's a liberated guy. I mean, he's been out and he's been back on his home front in New Hampshire, saying what he means. Plus, the fact there's been some progress in Iraq has also helped."
Roberts: "All right, George, thanks, as always, for the bottom line. Diane?"

CNN's Anderson Cooper Joins Clinton Summit
'Featured Attendees'

CNN's Anderson Cooper interviewed Bill Clinton for a segment on Wednesday's Anderson Cooper 360 in which Clinton railed against past GOP criticisms of Democratic candidates, and if there was speculation on why Cooper, instead of someone "higher up the food chain" like Wolf Blitzer, interviewed Clinton on the occasion of the "Clinton Global Initiative" annual meeting, it could be because Cooper was one of the "featured attendees" at this meeting. Cooper moderated a "working session" panel discussion on Wednesday on "The Most Effective Strategies for the Most Vulnerable Children."

Cooper joined other members of the mainstream media who were "featured attendees" at this year's "Clinton Global Initiative" annual meeting, including Daljit Dhaliwal of PBS; Nicholas Kristof and George Suroweicki of the New York Times; Fareed Zakaria of Newsweek, and former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos of ABC News. Major media executives attending the meeting included Judy McGrath, Chairman and CEO of MTV Networks; Rupert Murdoch; and Ted Turner (see item #4 below for more on Turner).

Home page for the Clinton Global Initiative: www.clintonglobalinitiative.org

List of the "Featured Attendees" is online at: www.clintonglobalinitiative.org

Page listing the meeting moderated by Cooper: www.clintonglobalinitiative.org

In past years, other members of mainstream media have been participants in the "Clinton Global Initiative" annual meeting. In 2006, CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Tom Brokaw, Katie Couric, Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, CNN's Sanjay Gupta, former PBS anchor Charlayne Hunter-Gault, NPR "All Things Considered" anchor Michele Norris, Diane Sawyer, CNN anchor Zain Verjee, and Judy Woodruff were "featured attendees," along with some of those named above. See: newsbusters.org

Besides the panel discussion Cooper moderated, among the other topics being discussed at the "Clinton Global Initiative" annual meeting included "Stabilizing the Climate: Pathways to Success;" "Promoting Growth and Fairness;" and the peculiarly-named "Addressing Under and Over Nutrition."

[This item is adapted from a posting by Matthew Balan on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Last year, Today co-host Meredith Vieira interviewed Clinton at his summit and didn't exactly quiz him toughly. For the September 22, 2006 CyberAlert article, "Vieira Swoons Over Bill Clinton the 'Genie,' Treats as Wise Sage," go to: www.mrc.org

In Cooper's September 26 interview with Bill Clinton, which was previewed on The Situation Room, Clinton blasted "disingenuous" Republicans for their "feigned outrage" over MoveOn.org's ad attacking General David Petraeus. Clinton put on his best "angry face" during the clip: "This was classic bait-and-switch....These Republicans that are all upset about Petraeus -- this is one newspaper ad. These are the people that ran a television ad in Georgia with Max Cleland, who lost half his body in Vietnam '€" in the same ad, with Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. That's what the Republicans did."

Clinton also brought up the "Swift Boat" attack on John Kerry during the 2004 presidential campaign: "These are the people that funded the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth. And the President appointed one of the principal funders of the Swift Boat ads to be an ambassador. But they're really upset about Petraeus. But it was ok to question John Kerry's patriotism on the blatantly dishonest claims by people that [sic] didn't what they were talking about."

Clay Waters of the MRC's TimesWatch project explored "The Myth of Max Cleland" back in 2004, including video of the Saxby Chambliss commercial against Cleland. It in no way suggests that Cleland is like Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein. Over a montage of four photographs, one each of bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, two others of the U.S. military, a narrator reads: "As America faces terrorists and extremist dictators, Max Cleland runs television ads claiming he has the courage to lead," but he voted 11 times against Bush's homeland security measures. The page includes a video link: www.timeswatch.org

Turner: Chance Humanity Will Survive
Impaired by Bush's 'Bombing'

Ted Turner made a rare appearance on CNN on Wednesday's American Morning and, live from the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City, the CNN founder used a baseball analogy to claim humanity is in dire straights made worse by President Bush's foreign policy: "It's the seventh inning and humanity is down by two runs. Now, we've got to score three runs in the next, in the next two innings, and we've got to hold them right where they are. So, it's real tricky. We're in a dangerous spot, but we can pull it out if we really work together and go to work on it, and do the smart things and stop doing the dumb things, like bombing Third World countries."

[The MRC's Michelle Humphrey caught Turner's comments and this item is based on a NewsBusters posting, with video, by Matthew Balan. The video will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert, but to watch or listen in the meantime, go to: newsbusters.org ]

Video: Real (1.85 MB) or Windows (1.56 MB), plus MP3 (1.15 KB)

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who interviewed the founder of the network, hailed Turner as "one of the world's most influential philanthropists." Even with this fanfare, Turner himself looked looked out-of-it or uncomfortable during the 4-and-a-half minute interview, which took place live at the annual meeting of the "Clinton Global Initiative" during the 8am Eastern hour.

At the beginning of the September 26 interview, Turner explained that it was his "learning experience" at CNN that led to his $1 billion donation to the United Nations almost 10 years ago:

GUPTA: Nearly 10 years ago, you decided to give away $1 billion. This whole spirit of philanthropy, what motivated you to give at that time?
TURNER: Well, a lot of it actually came from starting CNN, learning about all of the problems that there were in the world. Because as you know, we emphasized international news. So, while we were doing it, I learned about a lot that was going on overseas. And particularly, the thing that triggered it is the United States was not paying its dues to the U.N. at that time, and we were a couple of years in the rear, so and about $1 billion and the U.N. couldn't pay its bills. And so, I was trying to figure, well, I said I have $1 billion. I'll just step up, and see if I can fill the gap for a while.

Turner then couldn't remember Gupta's next question to him about his donation:

GUPTA: Now, looking back, almost 10 years later, any regrets about that? Did the money do what it's supposed to do?
TURNER: Well, I couldn't give the money directly to the U.N. It turned out they can only take money from -- at that time, they could only take money from sovereign states. So, we set up a parallel foundation called the U.N. Foundation to administer the gift, but to give to U.N. causes. What was the question?
GUPTA: Any regrets about it?
TURNER: No, no, no regrets at all. In fact, it is the best thing I ever did, other than having my children.
GUPTA: Having your children, which is a great thing. I have two, myself.

After asking about the effectiveness of events like the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, Turner surprisingly didn't list global warming first:

GUPTA: Climate change is another one of your big passions. You know, Clinton always talks about the fact that HIV-AIDS, since he has left the presidency, has been one of his biggest initiatives. What is yours?
TURNER: Well, the two things that I'm most concerned about are the nuclear arsenals and the fact that they are still on hair-trigger alert, the Russian and American arsenals, and if something were to go wrong, or a mistake, and they get accidentally launched, it's the end of the world in an afternoon. I think that's probably the greatest danger that we face. And the second one is probably global warming. So, those are the two that I'm most concerned about. But I'm concerned about AIDS and measles and malaria, too. The U.N. Foundation is -- takes a holistic view, and tries to help out at least some in every area. We still got to finish, finish eradicating polio, too, so we don't let it come out of the bottle again.

Turner looked a little dated in his answer. Most of his fellow rich liberals would name "climate change" or "global warming" as their first priority, not nuclear weapons.

At the end of the interview, Gupta asked Turner what he thought about the future:

GUPTA: Now looking -- you've been doing this for a long time. As things stand right now, are you optimistic that you're going to be able-.
TURNER: About the future?
GUPTA: Yeah, and solve some of these problems that you're talking about.
TURNER: Well certainly, we have solved some of them. We've eradicated smallpox. Yeah, I'm optimistic but that -- to equate it to a sports event, a baseball game, I think it's the seventh inning and humanity is down by two runs. Now, we've got to score three runs in the next, in the next two innings, and we've got to hold them right where they are. So, it's real tricky. We're in a dangerous spot, but we can pull it out if we really work together and go to work on it, and do the smart things and stop doing the dumb things, like bombing Third World countries.
GUPTA: Well, I really appreciate your time. This is -- I like the baseball analogy as well.
TURNER: Thank you.
GUPTA: Not surprising coming from you.

O'Reilly Thanks Bozell and MRC Staff:
'They're Doing a Great Job'

At the end of Thursday's The O'Reilly Factor, FNC's Bill O'Reilly gave a shout out to the Media Research Center, publisher of NewsBusters, for tracking the media's distorted coverage of the remarks made by O'Reilly last week on his radio show which the far-left has tried, with the complicity of several media outlets, to turn into an "Imus moment" to silence O'Reilly: "And finally tonight, the mail. Before we get to the letters, I want to thank Brent Bozell and his staff at M, as in Mary, RC.org. They're doing a great job covering this racial deal. Thank you guys."

[This item was posted Thursday night, with video, on the MRC's blog. The Real and Windows Media video, as well as MP3 audio, will be added to the posted version of this CyberAlert, but to watch or listen in the meantime, go to: newsbusters.org ]

Video clip (15 secs): Real (450 KB) or Windows Media (500 KB), plus MP3 audio (75 KB)

This morning, MRC Research Director Rich Noyes appeared on FNC's Fox & Friends to discuss the media smearing of O'Reilly. For video: newsbusters.org

Video (3:42): Real (2.76 MB) and Windows (2.32 MB), plus MP3 audio (1.06 MB)

On Thursday, the MRC issued a press release: "BOZELL CALLS ON CBS AND CNN TO APOLOGIZE TO BILL O'REILLY; CBS and CNN Embarrassing Themselves by Associating With Dishonest, Far-Left Organizations Such As Media Matters." See: www.mrc.org

A rundown of MRC.org posts about O'Reilly's comments:

# "CBS News Disreputably Promotes Left-Wing Smear of Bill O'Reilly." Go to: www.mrc.org

# "MSNBC Graphic Defames O'Reilly: 'Anchor's Racist Comments.'" See: www.mrc.org

# "On CNN, O'Reilly is 'Ahmadinejad,' Juan Williams a 'Happy Negro.'" Check: www.mrc.org

# "CNN Sees 'Imus Moment' for O'Reilly, Williams Calls CNN 'Idiots.'" Go to: www.mediaresearch.org

-- Brent Baker